Sad news to report today as it was announced that British writer and director Mike Hodges died on December 17th at the age of 90. Hodges was best known for directing Get Carter, which has been described as “one of the great British gangster films of all time,” as well as Flash Gordon, the colourful, pulpy sci-fi fantasy based on the comic strip of the same name.
Mike Hodges got his start working as a teleprompter operator for British television before writing and directing films for TV. His first feature film was Get Carter, a crime drama which starred Michael Caine as a London gangster who returns to his hometown to learn about his brother’s supposedly accidental death. He reunited with Caine for his next film, Pulp, and went on to direct The Terminal Man, Flash Gordon, Morons from Outer Space, A Prayer for the Dying, Black Rainbow, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Nearly thirty years after the release of Get Carter, a remake was released starring Sylvester Stallone, but Hodges has never seen it. He came close when his son brought back a DVD of the remake from Hong Kong. He got drunk one night and tried to watch it, but the disc wasn’t compatible. “So we put it in the dustbin,” Hodges said.
He also co-wrote the screenplay for Damien: Omen II and served as director of the film for several weeks before he was fired and replaced by Don Taylor. The relationship between Hodges and the producers reportedly grew so grim that one of the producers even pulled a gun on him, although Hodges downplayed the interaction while speaking with The Guardian in 2003. “Well, ‘pulled’ isn’t quite the right word,” Hodges said. “I was having a discussion with the producer, who was slightly neurotic, to say the least, and he got very angry. We were sitting in an office and he suddenly rummaged in his bag and put this handgun on the table. And I said, ‘Is that loaded?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And then we just looked at each other for a bit.” As for whether the producer was going to use it, Hodges wasn’t sure, “But it’s the perfect symbol of the macho behaviour we’ve been talking about. I think I must have got under his skin. We were arguing about the design budget and I said, ‘Calm down’ and he didn’t. But I found it very scary, I have to confess. The whole film was very threatening.” You will be missed, Mr. Hodges. Our thoughts go out to your family and friends.